Why Integrated Marketing Communications is Essential for Small Businesses

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How can integrated marketing communications help me as a small business owner?

Integrated marketing communications is crucial for small business owners because they, less than larger corporations, can afford to waste or waste money on a single, siled marketing effort.

For example, as a small business owner, it might be easy to focus on one aspect of marketing—a new website, a direct mail campaign, radio advertising—or as a manufacturer, just let your partners do the marketing for you. However, what happens if this marketing ploy doesn’t work?

Answer: Your entire marketing effort fails.

Instead, wouldn’t it be nice to have an integrated marketing plan that takes the best parts of online marketing, such as your website, email newsletters, SEO, and pay-per-click advertising, and applies them to traditional offline efforts? For example, direct mail, advertising, and public relations are even more effective.

For example, this could be as simple as making sure your website has the same keywords as your radio ads and that your banners at Little League games have the same message. In order to internalize a piece of information, a person must be exposed to it multiple times. If you hit them three times with three different messages, that’s almost the same as being exposed only once. Worse, it can be confusing and disorienting, creating a negative experience with your brand.

Integrated marketing communications solves this problem by creating a plan with a consistent message and then delivering that plan through as many online and offline media as possible.

What are the components of an integrated marketing plan?

An integrated marketing communications (IMC) program should draw on all available communication disciplines, including online, offline and interpersonal communication.

Online marketing channels include any electronic marketing campaign or program, from search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click, affiliate marketing, emails, banners to the latest web-related channels of webinars, blogs, RSS, podcasts and Internet TV. Offline marketing channels include traditional print (newspapers, magazines), mail order, public relations, billboards, radio and television. Interpersonal marketing includes participation in community groups, networking organizations, your handshake, your attire, and even how you answer or return calls.

While not every marketing campaign needs to include all communication rules, it is important for any integrated marketing practitioner to become familiar with the individual components so that he or she can select those that best fit a specific client’s budget and needs.

Is it better to use an agency or purchase personal services yourself?

While there are benefits to both, if you don’t already have a network of trusted service providers, including printers, promotional product companies, trade show planners, etc. who are familiar with your business, then an agency may offer benefits. Many times, an agency can get the job done for a client faster, more efficiently, and with higher quality at the same or lower price. Also, as a business owner, you have to consider the time you might spend shopping for the best deal and reading reviews to make sure the best deal doesn’t provide you with the worst service.

However, the cost of each component should not be your primary consideration when evaluating an integrated marketing plan. Instead, consider the costs and benefits of the entire program working together. For example, it might cost you $2,000 to build a website, and then you might spend $10,000 on pay-per-click advertising over the next year, but if the content on the website is inconsistent with the messaging in your direct mail or customer service Without matching people who can’t answer questions about the site, you’ve wasted a lot of money.

Instead, don’t think of your website as a single entity. Make sure it fits perfectly into your marketing strategy:

* Take advantage of every opportunity to spread the word. This includes not only pay-per-click advertising, but also business cards, radio ads, and even putting stickers on your products to let customers know where they can download a copy of your product manual, and printing it on your receipt to tell customers where to go on your website Download coupons.

* Develop email newsletters that provide your customers and prospects with news and information they can use, not just brochures selling your products.

* Create a blog and allow people to subscribe to it. This will build trust and familiarity between your customers and your company. Don’t limit your blog posts to just the president, sometimes posts from your project manager or even your receptionist can make the blog interesting and eye-catching.

* Create a contest – but make sure the message is consistent with your integrated marketing strategy. Get people to visit your website and enter.

* If you run an ad promoting a specific service, make sure your customers can quickly and easily find more information about that service. You could even put a picture at the top of the page that says « Attention 99.5 listeners, click here to learn more about gutter cleaning »

These are just a few examples of how to put your marketing plan together and maximize the initial investment you make by building a website.

Isn’t integrated marketing communications just like any other marketing plan?

A marketing plan can be just a marketing plan for a website or a marketing plan for an advertising campaign, but an integrated marketing communications plan involves all aspects of marketing for the entire company. This means you integrate all aspects of your company into a unified plan.

After all, you can have a great website marketing plan, a great advertising campaign, and an award-winning PR agency, but if a customer reads a press release or hears your ad and decides to visit your website, he won’t be able to find out anything about you. More Information PR or Advertising Information What is the point of spending this money in the first place?

Source by James Hills